Charity show… Barenaked Ladies headlining… radio station disc jockeys announcing the bands… yes, these are the ingredients for a show with a Joint Multi-Band Confusing Encore.
You know, where the headlining band vaguely knows the song but the opening bands don’t, so they learn a token verse or harmony, and their drummer stands somewhere on stage shaking a tambourine, and there are lots of guitarists but not lots of guitarists whose guitars are actually plugged in.
It’s happened with us and BNL many times… once with the Ladies joining us for a surprise catastrophic version of “Boy’s Don’t Cry” in California, where we introduced them as The Cure and more people thought that The Cure just “looked a lot less depressed” than realized that BNL were actually on stage with us. But usually they’re the headliners, and I’m standing on the riser behind Tyler, observing the dynamics of eye contact and musical gestures that help to cue the obligatory break down, audience-sung chorus, and double-time build to a seemingly coordinated finish.
In Lowell we went with Neil Young’s “Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World” — a good arena song, an excuse for Joe to rip a solo (his guitar was actually plugged in), and just the right dash of political undertones to feel relevant but not too heavy at a Mass 9/11 Fund Charity show. Plus, I think Ed actually knew some of the lyrics.
I opted for the unplugged banjo rather than the tambourine/shaker this time around. Look how high up on the neck I’m wailing on that thing! Look at my bowl haircut!